Senator Tammy Baldwin Speaks on Shuttered Venue Operator Grant (SVOG) and National Independent Venue Association (NIVA)
U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin visits Pablo Center at the Confluence on Friday, September 3, 2021 to meet local recipients of the Shuttered Venue Operator Grant (SVOG). Local festivals, venues, and arts & cultural organizations joined in a “thank you” to Senator Baldwin for her help in advocating for the survival Chippewa Valley music promoters, independent venues, museums, theatres, and arts/cultural organizations.
Senator Baldwin’s support was crucial in securing SVOG funding for local venues and arts organizations significantly impacted by the pandemic. The Senator and her office served as key representative for the passing of the legislation and helped to mitigate challenges with navigating the application process at the launch of the program.
“Independent venues were some of the first establishments to shut down last year—and as we’ve already seen—they’ve been some of the last to reopen,” said Senator Baldwin. “The Shuttered Venue Operator Grant program provided a lifeline to many of our arts and culture venues in Wisconsin and I was glad to tour the Pablo Center today to see how they put their funds to work.”
Jason Jon Anderson, Executive Director of Pablo Center at the Confluence says, “The Senator and her team have been staunch advocates for our creative economy, its impact on Wisconsin’s Tourism Industry and the industry saving Save Our Stages legislation. Through my role as the Wisconsin Precinct Captain on the advocacy committee for NIVA, the Senator deeply understands the impact of the $7.00 spent in the surrounding communities for every $1.00 spent in our venues/festivals. These initial awards ensure that our fastest economic catalysts have some relief for their ongoing operating expenses for the past 16 months of this pandemic.”
In April 2020, the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) was created. Representing venues, theatres, festivals, and promoters across the nation the group organized to advocate for a federal relief package for independent promoters, venues, theatres and festivals around the nation shuttered by the pandemic. NIVA worked with Congress to pass the Save Our Stage Act which was signed into law on December 27th, 2021. In total Save our Stages provided competitive grant access to $16.25 billion in funds to promoters, museums, cinemas and live event venues as part of the pandemic relief bill passed Congress. The Shuddered Venue Operator Grants (SVOG) are being administered by the SBA. The grants provided crucial funding for the independent venues, museum, theatres, and arts organizations hit hardest by the pandemic. These grants have brought just under a $170 million of needed aid to the State of Wisconsin.
The Small Business Administration has issued over 11,500 initial SVOG awards totaling $9.3 billion nationwide. In the state of Wisconsin 218 total recipients received $169,948,402 in awards or about 1.88% of the total SVOG amount. Within the greater Chippewa Valley area, SVOG grant funding was distributed to 19 recipients totaling $10,469,774. Local recipients include: Chippewa Valley Music Festivals, Inc. (Rock Fest and Country Fest), Onefest LTD., Blue Ox Music Festival, Inc., Chippewa Partners, Inc. (Oktoberfest Chippewa Falls), Chippewa Valley Cultural Association, Inc. (Heyde Center for the Arts), Eau Claire Theatre Group, LLC (Micon Downtown & London Square Cinema), Micon Cinemas Inc., Stanley Theater Legacy, LLC (The Stanley Theater), Lake Superior Big Tip Chautauqua, LTD (Big Top Chautauqua), Chippewa Valley Symphony, LTD (Chippewa Valley Symphony Orchestra), Chippewa Valley Theater Group, Inc. (Chippewa Valley Theatre Guild), Confluence Council, Inc. (Pablo Center at the Confluence), Country Jam USA, Inc., Eau Claire Chamber Orchestra, Quentin Volk (Eau Claire Jazz, Inc.), The Children’s Museum of Eau Claire, Acts-treme Talent LLC, Menomonie Theatre Guild, Inc., The Mabel Tainter Literary, Library and Educational Society (The Mabel Tainter Theater).